Kenyans abroad deserve better
| Apr 22nd 2020 | 2 min read
In the wake of coronavirus pandemic, it has become
abundantly clear that the Kenyan government doesn’t value its citizens who live
and work abroad.
This was perfectly illustrated by how the government
responded to distressful calls from Kenyans in China who complained of racial
discrimination, xenophobic attacks, forced evictions, and denial of fundamental
rights. Foreign Affairs PS Mr Kamau Macharia reacted disdainfully to
Granted, the process of repatriating Kenyans from abroad can
be sophisticated, diplomatically challenging, and practically expensive.
Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the government to
explain extenuating circumstances impeding repatriation. At the very least, the
government should repudiate the mistreatments of her citizens and demonstrate a
sense of care.
On the contrary, PS Macharia was very condescending and
patronizing. He demonized Kenyans reeling in depression in China as
indisciplined youths who are disobeying Chinese precautionary protocols.
This is an unprecedented dereliction of duty to Kenyans
abroad who play a fundamental economic role in sustaining the very abusive
government that doesn’t care.
Christened “The 48th County” by President Uhuru Kenyatta,
Kenyans abroad are an integral part of Kenya’s economy. According to the World
Bank statistics, remittances of Kenyans abroad hit a record high of Kshs 300
Billion. They supersede tourism and agriculture as the source of foreign
Despite all these exclusive benefits from about 3 million
Kenyans abroad, the government continues to treat this indispensable
constituency with disdain.
To date, Kenyans abroad remain mere bystanders in all
democratic processes. In spite of court orders upholding voting rights and all
guarantees enshrined in the constitution, the government has not only disobeyed
these orders but remains cowardice to implement this sacrosanct right.
Furthermore, the Kenyan government hasn’t established proper
diplomatic channels and a database platform through which it can access her
citizens abroad and harness professional diaspora capabilities that can be
tapped to strengthen Kenya’s systems.
Degraded abroad and rejected at home, Kenyans in the
diaspora have been left in desolation, each fending for themselves without
authority that they can call a government.
By and large, it’s in the best interest of the Kenyan
government to establish and promote a good relationship with its citizens
living and working abroad.
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